> My angle is just the opposite, what if I want to release code under an
> open source license, but allow commercial entities the freedom to
> provide add-ons under whatever license they choose?
I actually talk to companies about licensing proprietary code as OSS
frequently (though I refer them to Larry Rosen, John Koenig and Gwyn Murray
as well, since IANAL). Which license you use is really dependant on what you
expect to get out of open-sourcing your code.
(1) You have an application or software plug-in that you want to make the
de-facto standard in some niche, so you need it to have the widest possible
distribution. Or, you're open-sourcing it mainly to make your competitor's
offerings unprofitable. You do not expect to make any money off the code
itself but off of complimentary offerings.
(2) You have a (potentially) profitable proprietary application which is
important to your business. You want to take advantage of OSS to surpass
traditional distribution channels, but still want to make money off of it.
You are a small challenger in a competitive market with other, bigger
(3) You have an unprofitable proprietary application and you want to increase
your visibility and PR and goodwill in the OSS/hacker community by
For case (1), you want to use a BSD-like license; BSD, Apache or Artistic.
The commercializability of your code will encourage the whole industry,
including your competitors, to adopt it.
For case (2), you want the GPL or a similar "viral" license. If you released
the code under a BSD-like license, your big competitors might snap it up and
use it to put you out of business.
For (3), you could use *any* license; it really doesn't matter because you
never expect to use the code again. Ideally, you want to use something like
the MPL or Apache which keeps your name with the code, but other
considerations, like complimenting licenses with other software, who's going
to host the project, or how you feel about the FSF, are more important.
Within that, you want to use the most liberal license possible in order to
attract outside developers; a dead abandonware project is nobody's PR bonus.
Feel free to call me; phone avail at www.agliodbs.com.
Aglio Database Solutions
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